Treating Your Pets With Cannabis

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Veterinarian Gary Richter got involved with cannabis for pets when he realized, "There are so many people out there benefiting from medical cannabis, there was no reason to think that animals might not benefit in the same way." His next questions was, how does one give it safely and effectively?

"I've seen almost the full spectrum of benefits," says Dr. Richter, "Anything ranging from relief of pain, helping with anxiety, gastrointestinal issues, seizures, all the way up to helping cancer patients."


Cats and dogs, like humans, have endocannabinoid receptors that allow cannabis to treat their bodies effectively and with few side effects. Often times, cannabis medicine works more effectively than pharmaceuticals while also being more cost efficient for the owner. But how do you know if your companion likes the experience? Does your dog or cat get high?

The goal is not to get animals high. Most of the cannabis pet products available are high CBD products with only small amounts of THC. CBD is the cannabinoid known for its anti-inflammatory, pain relieving benefits that is completely non-psychoactive. THC products are usually given in very small amounts that do not make the animal high, but can provide a host of benefits.

It can be daunting for a pet owner to decide which formula and dose is right for their pet, especially since guidance is hard to come by given that vets aren't allowed to recommend or prescribe cannabis. But the companies leading the way are here to offer guidance, with instructions for your pet by weight and condition, and there are a handful of vets who do feel comfortable working with cannabis medicine.

For the most effective results, look for products made with cannabis that have few other ingredients that may interact with your pet's health issue.

"We do not use any harsh extraction process," says Robin of The Farmaceuticals Company, a tincture and topical maker. "Instead, with our unique whole-plant infusion process and only two ingredients, organically grown CBD cannabis and organic non-GMO olive oil, our Sidekick Pet Drops are not only full-spectrum, they are gentle and safe for our fur family."

If you are interested in learning more, local cannabis delivery service Sava is hosting an educational symposium on Wednesday, July 18th at the Union Square Hilton to teach pet parents the why and how of using cannabis safely with their animals.

Dr. Richter will teach the basics, but he will also answer any questions about cannabis medicine—questions like how does cannabis work in pets vs. humans? How do you give cannabis to your pet safely? Will my pet feel high? Both Treatwell and The Farmaceuticals Company will be on hand to educate about their tinctures. Ticket sales for the event will be donated to Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, an organization that finds stable homes for elderly dogs.

// Sava delivers a curated selection of cannabis goods for people and pets throughout the Bay Area. For more info and tickets ($20) to the Muttville benefit, go to getsava.com/events.